Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga reportedly knew about Limpopo's looming textbook crisis in July 2011, four months before the provincial department was placed under administration.
The Star newspaper said that the information was contained in a leaked report compiled by the provincial education department and handed over to a presidential task team.
The Star claimed to have a copy of the report.
It apparently showed that Minister Motshekga met with MEC Dickson Masemola in Polokwane in July last year.
She was told that the original R633-million allocated for textbooks and stationery for the 2012 academic year had been reduced to R372-million.
The report apparently showed that Motshekga was told that the procurement for textbooks for grades one, two, three and 10 had not been funded.
Motshekga then took control of the provincial department in December.
The textbook debacle is currently the subject of two investigations.
Limpopo continues to battle a textbook crisis more than halfway into the academic year.
Schools are still struggling to get books into classrooms despite assurances from the Education Department that it is resolving the bungle.
South African Democratic Teacher's Union (Sadtu) Provincial Secretary Matome Raphasha said last week that aside from the textbook crisis, corruption was rife and some teachers had not been paid since January.
"Problems in Limpopo are beyond the issue of textbooks. There are huge problems."
The Democratic Alliance (DA) spokesperson on education Desiree van der Walt said the department was trying to cover up the extent scandal.
"Many principals informed our members that they were not allowed to speak to the DA or anybody else."
There have been calls for Masemola to resign, but the department said that he was being used as a scapegoat.